Policies and procedures are essential for the long term prosperity of any business. Many businesses fail because they don’t have clearly defined policies and procedures. Clear policies and procedures can help enterprises set expectations, maintain accountability, comply with the law, and defend themselves against employee claims.
Clearly defined policies and procedures are even more critical during emergencies. They can prevent a business from collapsing when emergencies arise. Want to know how to develop policies and procedures for your business? Read on:
Policy and procedure development occurs in 5 main stages: Planning, development, review, implementation and final review.
- Planning stage
- Identification of the problem or need
- Businesses develop policies and procedures in anticipation of a market or response to a need.
- In anticipation of a need
The development of policy and procedures should reflect a similar approach to project management guidelines. To establish a workable and quality policy and practices may follow the following pathway.
Planning & Research:
- Have the project goals been set and reviewed as relevant?
- Does the project manager have the skills to manage the project?
- Identified need for Policy/Procedure (researched) & have project authorised
- Identify all stakeholders who will be affected by the policy/procedure.
- Established a communication strategy (employees, community etc.).
- Have your industry best practice outcomes been shown?
- Consult with internal and external stakeholders.
- Consider compliance and legislation.
- The organisation’s standard template is available.
- Using the information above – produce a brief draft copy!
- Review work completed so far for the contradiction of other organisational policies.
- Determined a testing method to ensure it is workable ie. tabletop exercise.
- Have those with disabilities been considered?
- Have those with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds been considered?
- Establish a training and implementation plan.
- Determine a method of critical (after incident) and long term review.
- Identify/create supporting documents (designed to ensure workability).
- Have the project goals been achieved adequately?
- Has the policy and procedure been signed of by senior management?
For example, when a business anticipates that a record number of people will buy their products online in the next year, the management will develop policies and procedures beforehand to take advantage of the opportunity and maximize profits. They’ll let employees know about policies and procedures to ensure smooth implementation.
Here’s an explanation of how you may proceed.
- In response to a need
For example, when the government announces regulatory changes, businesses will develop policies and procedures to respond to the announcement so that they are not affected.
Some businesses develop policies without procedures, which is okay. But systems are essential, especially where there is a need for specific operational instructions. In other words, employees will need to know the steps to take when an emergency or other less critical activity occurs.
2. It starts with a plan
The policyholder, who is responsible for the content of the policies and procedures, as well as implementation, will draw up a plan that includes phases and timelines, such as;
The policyholder will then identify the main stakeholders for the consultation process. Most policy developers require that the policy development team comprise of people who will be affected directly by the policies and procedures.
The policyholder will then organize a sit down with the policy and procedure implementation team and research issues related to the policies and procedures, such as legislation and best practices. They will also prepare interview questions for the consultation stage. The policyholder will also consult experts in the domain in this stage.
3. Development stage
Documentation of all policy and procedure statements with regards to the research stage is done in this stage. The policy statements should meet the following criteria:
- They should be clear
- and specific
The language used in the policy statements should be simple for everyone to understand. The policy and procedure document should spell out what the policies and procedures are, as well as the expectations of the people who will use them. It should also enhance readability. So, the policyholder must use headers and numbers in the document.
The policyholder will present the draft policy and procedure document to the appropriate stakeholders, such as government, human resources department, financial department, marketing department and other stakeholders affected by the policies and procedures for review and feedback.
- Feedback review
The policyholder will then organize a sit down with the policy and procedure development team to review the feedback and make the necessary revisions. The document will then be sent to the legal department for review if required.
- Drawing up an ambitious implementation and communications strategy
After the feedback review, the policyholder, in conjunction with the communication department, will draw up an ambitious plan to roll out the policies and procedures.
This stage will include a review of the draft policies and procedure document, as well as recommendations and approval. The format of the draft document will be classified and numbered by the administrative services analyst. Once the administrative services analyst completes the classification and numbering, they will return it to the policyholder with the required revisions.
The draft policies and procedure document will then be presented to the executive team for review and approval. The executive team will look at the draft policies and procedures and provide feedback on it, including the modifications required. Once revised, the policyholder will send the draft document back to the executive team, who will approve it once satisfied.
The policyholder may require the approval of the draft document from the board of governors, especially if it contains policies and procedures touching on governance.
Once the board of governors approves the draft document, it is returned to the administration services analyst, who will generate a final copy of the policy and procedure document. The policyholder will then sign the document. The administration services analyst will retain final copies of the policies and procedures and note the dates approved by the executive team and board of governors.
The administrator and the policyholder will communicate the policies and procedures and ensure that those impacted by them comprehend the content. This will require in-depth consultation with the communication department, as well as employees.
Once employees have understood the policies and procedures, all the approved policies and procedures will be posted on the business or company website (on the policy and procedure page). The document will also be available in PDF format.
5. Final review
The administrator will ensure compliance with the policies and procedures by monitoring their implementation. If issues come up when monitoring implementation, further clarification, training, and communications may be initiated.
The policies and procedures will be reviewed time after time-based on the time frames established in the development stage. The appropriate number of times policies and procedures should be review is once every five years.
Furthermore, review periods should be seen as an opportunity to update policy and procedures. Minor changes to the policies and procedures need not go through the review and approval process. The policyholder can make them. However, all the revised changes must be sent to the executive team to determine the next steps.
Developing policies and procedures is a complex and dynamic process. It requires cooperation and commitment of the executive, policyholder, stakeholders and the employees. But when developed and implemented the right way, the business or company can run efficiently, and achieve its goals easily. It can also help the business or company comply with the legal and social environment it operates in and cultivate good relationships with its employees and customers.